Ferran and creativity

(This post is part of Ferran Adria week. Don't know what that is? Inform yourself.)

"Creativity is at the center of everything else. If we didn't have it, we'd close tomorrow. The challenge of creativity is what makes El Bulli continue." - Ferran Adria

I'll start with, perhaps, the  easiest leap from kitchen to advertising: creativity. Agencies swear it's their lifeblood. Creatives have it as their job description. So it seems like a natural jumping off point.

Ferran saw creativity as a necessary part of his job as a chef. Especially as a way to get people to understand food the way he wanted them to understand it. It was his way of communicating an idea with people through a dish, a taste, an ingredient.

And how does he come to this creativity? It's not divine inspiration (which so many people want you to believe it is.) It's hard work.

"I [Author Colman Andrews] notice on the big calendar pinned to a bulletin board at one end of the kitchen, he has blocked out certain days for (his favorite word) "creativity." "How can you plan to be creatively inspired on a certain day?" I ask. "Don't ideas come when they want to come?" He shakes his head. "No, no, no, no," he says. "You have to actively look for inspiration. On this level you don't just sit and wait for the bulb to go off. The work of creativity is very, very difficult. It's very complicated. Ideas aren't creativity. You look for them and you make notes. After the ideas with the notes you start to make cuisine. I'm interested in speaking of the *synthesis* of creativity. It's a very animal thing, the capacity for synthesis. During the creative process, I only think of creative cuisine. It's like hibernation, as if I'm in a monastery."

I think this separation of inspiration and creativity is really interesting. (Jerry Seinfeld actually brought up a similar point about writer's block in yesterdays Reddit AMA. As does John Cleese when talking about writing and the "Open Mode.") It seems the most important part of creating can be setting aside the time to let yourself create. Force yourself to sit in that box until something comes out. Which isn't all that novel but might be worth remembering.

All quotes taken from "Ferran: The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man Who Reinvented Food."